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Monday, February 13, 2006

Well, Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and I'm in the Usual Fix

What is it about holidays like Valentine's Day? We've forgotten how to behave, really; I know I have. When I was a child, we would make out a little card with a cloying and inoffensive sentiment and a cute, if hamfisted, picture of a bear, or a cupid, or putti; and then we'd distribute them to all our classmates, boys and girls, it didn't matter, and get them in return. We were but children, and the idea of the front window display of Victoria's Secret was very far in the future for adults, never mind a child.

Why does every modern expression of affection have to consist of: Can you top this?

You know exactly what I mean. People don't get down on one knee and ask for the fair hand of their beloved until death do them part any more. No, that isn't histrionic enough; you need to dress in a gorilla suit, and get on the jumbotron at the basketball game to propose formally these days, or take out a billboard ad, or send a stripper balloon-a-gram to her law office now, lest you seem, well, too ordinary to be marriageable. Among many people, the alternate pole shows itself, and marriage proposals simply consist of : "You're what? Well, I guess we can cohabit until something better comes along."

Celebrities aren't helping, of course. It is an immutable law the the more elaborate the wedding foo-fa-raw involved in celebrities' banns and nuptuals, the shorter it will last. Look up Kenny Chesney and Renee Zellwegger if you don't know what I'm talking about. And the rest of us normal folks, who are disinclined to rent an entire island to stand on the beach in a leather stetson and bare feet to propose are stuckwith the image in the general public's head that this is how normal people should behave too.

They call it Victoria's Secret, you know -- they don't call it Bella Abzug's Secret for a reason. The idea, as expressed in the Victorian ethic, was that an expression of affection could be quite straightforward, and chaste, and still have the shared knowledge that it was backed up with, well, how can I say it politely? They had thirteen children each, didn't they?

I remember the first time I saw a Victoria's Secret catalog. It had about ten pages at first, and I can still recall the slack- jawed amazement visible on the faces of the fellows in the very disreputable looking tavern I was in when they showed it to me. They understood immediately what Victoria's Secret itself has long since forgotten: A glimpse of hose is worth a pound of pornography.

I'd like to find some appropriate way to acknowledge the day without trying to outdo the Ardor Pizzaros looking to conquer new worlds of WOW! in histrionic shows of feigned affection. There really isn't any show of affection too good for my beloved, but I don't have the heart to go Nuclear on Valentine's Day, and I've lost the knack of the small immortelle along with my brethren. But I trust some day she will visit the boneyard where I'll live when the mortgage is paid off, finally, and think: You know, he was a knucklehead, but I'm pretty sure he really loved me.

Victorian Lacework Valentines

2 comments:

Pastor_Jeff said...

There really isn't any show of affection too good for my beloved, but I don't have the heart to go Nuclear on Valentine's Day, and I've lost the knack of the small immortelle along with my brethren. But I trust some day she will visit the boneyard where I'll live when the mortgage is paid off, finally, and think: You know, he was a knucklehead, but I'm pretty sure he really loved me.

Don't lose that paragraph. It's a keeper.

And the Victorian paper lace Valetines were really beautiful.

Aspasia M. said...

Less is more. Mr. Geoduck gave me a nice card and some chocolates.

Going nuclear on Valentine's Day is for high school students who aren't paying off mortgages.